Choose Love, Not Guilt

Never in a million years would I thought this could happen. And trust me, I have seen some shit.  It truly never fails to amaze me how quickly things can change and how life will throw you just about anything.  It confirms my belief that life is just navigating the highs and lows with hopefully a little bit of grace. And if its at all possible, try to find the lesson in the craziness. It gives the shit storm a purpose and then it wasn’t all for nothing. 

I can’t believe that I am about to, yet again, write about the sperm donor who is called my father. Considering the very small role he played in my life, he sure comes with a lot of hard lessons. 

I recently received a phone call from Child Protective Services. It breaks my heart to say that my father and his girlfriend had a baby. If you didn’t catch my earlier post about these two, its the classic back alley love story. She is 20-something, he is 60 something, they are both junkie’s and possibly the worst two options to create a life.  The baby boy was born at 4.8 pounds and addicted to heroin. They chose to allow him to detox cold turkey, he screamed while his body shook for 7 hours straight. CPS tells me that although physically he is doing well now, he was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero and will have difficulties in life. It is impossible to say at what degree that poor child shall suffer because of what he was exposed to, but it is certain that he will have learning difficulties and some mental health issues. 

 I know that the disease of addiction is a selfish disease. I have suffered with addiction myself, so I have compassion and better understanding than some. However, the anger and heart break that I feel towards my father and his girlfriend for making this selfish decision and choosing to be so careless to get pregnant, and then choosing their own comfort and getting high over the health of the unborn baby, enrages me. This poor baby. He never asked for this life and he certainly never asked for this pain. He is only a few months old and has already suffered so much. Because of their selfishness, he will have a life full of hardships. How can any high be worth that? 

CPS informs me that I am the only person listed as next of kin and asks if I can take the baby.  Ummm, excuse me?? The magnitude of that question is beyond anything I can explain here. I ache in the heaviness of this situation as I contemplate every possible angle of what life might look like if I say yes. Clearly this baby would be better off with me than it’s birth parents, but what this child needs is a home with parents who want him, who have the time, energy, patience and financial security to take him. We all know the unfortunate possibilities of trauma within the foster system and that scares me. How could I possibly answer this question?? 

And then a friend gave me the most amazing advice. He said that I couldn’t make this decision based on guilt. I would be doing this child a disservice and taking away the chance for him to be raised and cared for by a family with the appropriate means to do so. A family who would have chosen him for no other reason than love, not guilt.  


Wow. He is right. This advice has made me wonder just how many times we make choices based on guilt. And when we do so, are we not actually just doing a disservice instead of a favour? The disservice is not only to the other person but to ourselves. Don't all of our choices deserve to be based from a true place of love and a genuine "yes"? It's no wonder we have become a culture of walking around resenting people and the things we do for them.  Would that all change if we simply practiced being genuine and honest in all of our decisions? We might piss off a few people along the way, but in the long run, I know I am far more loving if I am true to what feels right for me and make decisions based on love, not guilt. 


Mackenzie Johnson